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Iran tells US to take ‘first step’, end sanctions

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President Hassan Rouhani Tuesday told the United States to “take the first step” by lifting all sanctions against Iran, a day after US President Donald Trump said he was open to meeting.

“The step is to retreat from sanctions. You must retreat from all illegal, unjust and wrong sanctions against the nation of Iran,” Rouhani said in a speech aired live on state television.

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He said “the key for positive change is in the hands of Washington”, because Iran had already ruled out ever doing what worries the US the most — building an atomic bomb.

“If honestly this is your only concern, this concern has already been removed” through a fatwa issued by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he said.

Khamenei is said to have issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons in 2003 and has reiterated it several times since.

“So take the first step. Without this step, this lock will not be unlocked,” Rouhani said at a Tehran event marking the start of construction at a housing project.

The US unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal in May last year and subsequently reimposed biting sanctions.

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Trump’s hearsay defense goes out the window as House Intel releases transcripts of two first-hand witnesses

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The House Intelligence Committee released two new transcripts on Saturday from first-hand witnesses who were on the line for President Donald Trup's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The transcripts are from the depositions of Deputy Assistant to the President Timothy Morrison and Vice President Pence’s special adviser on Europe and Russia, Jennifer Williams.

The chairs of the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs, and Oversight committees released a joint statement on the testimony.

"The testimony released today shows that President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky immediately set off alarm bells throughout the White House. Both witnesses provided the Committees with first-hand accounts after personally listening to the call in the White House Situation Room," the chairs said.

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GOP’s impeachment ‘game plan’ fell apart after Trump’s Yovanovitch tweet and now they’re unsure how to defend him: Politico reporter

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On CNN Saturday, Politico's Melanie Zanona noted that President Donald Trump's decision to attack former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in a tweet while she was testifying to Congress not only risks another article of impeachment — it is also leaving his Republican allies unable to defend his behavior.

"Melanie, it's hard to know what all independent and undecided voters might be thinking, but I had a guest on earlier who made a powerful point, in that some voters might be looking at the pattern of how the president describes particularly powerful women, and he would call her bad news and she had such an esteemed reputation," said anchor Fredricka Wilson.

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‘Game over’ for Trump if Sondland confirms phone call revealed by David Holmes: ex-Watergate prosecutor

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Appearing on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon, two veterans of the Watergate hearings that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon said the slow trickle of information coming out about Donald Trump's Ukraine dealings could lead to a sold case for his impeachment.

According to former prosecutor Nick Akerman, a lot could be riding on the testimony of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland who has been put in a precarious position after diplomat David Holmes said he overheard a conversation Sondland had with the president that would indicate the president was using foreign aid as a bribe for dirt on a political opponent.

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